Wednesday’s Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Mister Bluster says:

    FIRST! Tick of the season! In my hair. This after a shower and shampoo (rinse, repeat) this morning. Little fucker wasn’t attached so it was easy enough to get it out with my comb. Threw it in the toilet and gave it a swimming lesson. I have been inside since before sundown yesterday so the bastard has been with me overnight. I don’t know which bloodsucker is worse. Ticks or chiggers.

  2. MarkedMan says:

    My wife and I walked over to Camden Yards last night and took in our first Orioles game of the season. A wild ride, with the O’s besting the Angels 12-8, after being up 3, then down 4. Saw a grand slam homer, something you don’t get to see live very often. Two things came to mind. First, from the score you can tell there were a lot of hits and walks, and there were a lot of full counts and foul balls, which means there were a lot of pitches. Despite that the game came in at just over 3 hours. The speed up is working. The thing I notice most is that the batters don’t leave the box nearly as much or, obviously, for as long. Second, I was thinking about a way that baseball is different from most team sports: you can’t sit on a lead. Ultimately it is a batter by batter duel with a pitcher, and each and every time a new batter is up they can get a hit, a homer, or if patient enough, a walk. There is no way for a pitcher to play defense and keep the ball out of play (that’s actually called a “ball” and four of those advances the batter).

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: I’m on my 3rd or 4th dozen ticks, they are really bad this year.

    For my money, chiggers are the worst. The itching just doesn’t stop. I used to know a gal who told me about the time she and her boyfriend made love in a field of grass. As soon as she said that I knew where the story was going.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The federal government on Tuesday laid out options for saving the Colorado River in an effort to prevent it from falling to critically low levels and put an end to months-long negotiations between the seven western states and Indigenous nations that rely on it as a dwindling resource.

    As less and less water has been flowing through the river and its reservoirs fell to historic lows, the US Bureau of Reclamation, which manages water resources, called on the basin’s seven states – California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming – to find ways to cut as much as 30% of their river water allocation.

    But despite numerous deadlines, the states have been unable to agree on how to reduce their usage to prevent deadpool – the point at which the waterline sits beneath intake pipes at the Hoover Dam and the river effectively ceases to flow. Last year, the Lake Mead reservoir sank to its lowest level since the 1930s.

    On Tuesday, the Department of the Interior said it would either impose cuts to water allotments according to the water-rights priority system or evenly across the board.

    The interior department did not say how states should reduce water usage, but defended its authority to make sure basic needs such as drinking water and hydropower generated from the river are met – even if it means setting aside the priority system. The more than a century old method of dividing up the water is based on a senior priority system among the states – basically, whichever one was there first – that puts California at the front of the line.

    “Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting.”

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    via Anne Laurie over at Balloon Juice comes this little gem:

    Panda Bernstein

    Republicans: social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing and staying at home don’t help prevent viral spread!

    Also Republicans:

  6. CSK says:

    Trump told Tucker Carlson that cops were weeping openly and copiously when he was brought into the court, and saying, “I’m so sorry, sir.”


  7. CSK says:

    Trump also said that it’s not global warming we have to worry about, it’s “nuclear warming.”

  8. MarkedMan says:


    it’s “nuclear warming.”

    That’s actually kind of clever.

  9. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Inflation continues to cool.
    Thanks, Brandon!!!

  10. Thomm says:

    @CSK: one of the reasons why Putin loved him… nuclear threats from him would have trump quaking in his shoe lifts.

  11. Scott says:

    I was out of participation for the last month due to fractured wrist (painful and awkward) so I may have missed a discussion of the leaked briefings out of the Pentagon. Here is a pretty good status of the story.

    What Secrets Are in the Leaked Pentagon Documents?

    What are the documents, and how many were leaked?

    It appears that at least 100 documents were leaked, according to analysts who spoke with the Times. Other news organizations have reported on the contents of 50 pages. The surfaced files are photographs of briefing documents and slides, mostly prepared in February and March, based on intel collected by the NSA, CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, DEA, and National Reconnaissance Office (which manages U.S. spy satellites). Markings on the documents indicate that some were cleared for sharing with allies, while others were designated for U.S. eyes only — suggesting they originated from an American source.

    Many of the documents appear to have been prepared for Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, though anyone with a high enough security clearance would have had access to them. Former U.S. officials who spoke with the Times say the documents are likely part of a classified briefing that was folded and put in someone’s pocket, then taken somewhere where the pages could be photographed.

    There is a lot of information that was leaked that included info far beyond Ukraine.

    My concern is who did it. A concerning possibility appears to be from someone high in the Pentagon with highest clearance.

    I may watch too many cloak and dagger movies (just rewatched Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Season 2 of Slow Horses) but it occurs to me that there may be residual far right authoritarian people (like Lt Gen Flynn types) in the Pentagon that could justify betraying the US.

    It is not as though Trump Administration didn’t try to convert political employees into actual civil servants at the end of his administration.

  12. MarkedMan says:

    As someone who follows the discussions in this forum about weapons supplied to Ukraine but doesn’t know enough to have an opinion of my own, I found this Jalopnik article on the Rheinmetall Lynx Armored Vehicle (and why it is not a tank) interesting. YMMV, depending on nerdiness.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Mayor says Louisville shooter’s rifle ‘will be back on the streets’ under state law

    Maybe Harlan Crow will buy it for his hall of sociopaths.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Stupidity is an infectious disease:

    philip lewis@Phil_Lewis_
    “Missouri House Republicans voted to defund all of the state’s public libraries, in a proposed $45.6 billion state budget that will soon move to a vote in the GOP-controlled state Senate”

  15. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Want to work on any of the dozens of Arkansas State Boards and Commissions…kiss the ring, first.
    Frankly…I imagine this will turn out to be BS…but in the meantime it’s just so delicious.

  16. Mister Bluster says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:..kiss the ring, first.

    Sound familiar?
    Cabinet Members Gush Over Trump During Meeting

    Warning: The vomit meter is stressed. Beware.

  17. MarkedMan says:

    @Scott: Possibilities:
    – Residual Trump Trash did it for money
    – Residual Trump Trash did it because of some insane Q Anon reason
    – Run of the mill traitor for either of the reasons above
    – A spy (not a mole) got a hold of the documents because of poor security
    – An ally (rather than a US person) who saw this presentation
    – It’s a feint, and the allies have planted false info in it that will lead Russia to concentrate resources poorly in the upcoming Ukrainian counter attack

    I have no opinion on which one, if any, turns out to be the case.

  18. CSK says:

    The thing that’s so ludicrous about Trump’s assertion that cops were sobbing and apologizing to him when he was arrested is that we saw the whole episode, and no such thing happened. One of the cops even let the door shut in Trump’s face.

  19. Kathy says:

    I’m trying out Wondrium, the subscription service at The Great Courses.

    It’s begun badly, with interface issues. It runs well on the PC, but gets stuck when trying to cast from there to the TV via Chromecast. The app for the TV works well, but has no pause feature*. Casting with the phone app does work, and it can be paused.

    The phone app lets you stream either video or just audio. What I’m trying to determine is which lecture series need video and which don’t. Going by past experience with lecture series on audible, I know history ones don’t need video at all. I’m less sure about the science ones. If I can put them on audio in the ar and while cooking, they’d free up Audible credits for other books.

    I do know I’m not in the mood to watch a lecture when I get home in the evening.

  20. Sleeping Dog says:

    NPR is baling on twitter.

    And Charlie Sykes is moving his short messages to Substack’s Notes. This could be a trend…

  21. Sleeping Dog says:

    that should be bailing. No edit function.

  22. restless says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I don’t know, there ought to be a “making hay on substack“ joke in there somewhere…

  23. wr says:

    @Scott: “My concern is who did it. A concerning possibility appears to be from someone high in the Pentagon with highest clearance.”

    My favorite theory, although I haven’t seen it repeated, was that given where the documents were posted and how little noticed they were, that it was the kid of someone with high clearance and bad data habits…

  24. Sleeping Dog says:


    There is an article in the mornings NYT’s saying that docs first showed up on a Discord server that is a hangout for gamers.

  25. Mikey says:


    Trump told Tucker Carlson that cops were weeping openly and copiously when he was brought into the court, and saying, “I’m so sorry, sir.”


    He knows the whole thing is on video, right? Like, we saw when he was brought into the court. One of the cops didn’t even bother holding the door for him.

    Trump actually does know it’s bullshit, but that doesn’t matter. The power is in the brazenness of the lie, the fact he can just do it whenever he wants, like grabbing a woman’s pussy.

    He is, without question, the worst person ever to hold the office of the Presidency. It’s not even close. Nixon looks like a choirboy in comparison.

  26. Mikey says:


    I’m trying out Wondrium, the subscription service at The Great Courses.

    My daughter is in the process of writing and recording a multi-part series for them. The great part of this for me is their video recording studio is 20 minutes from my house, so whenever she does a recording they fly her here. She’ll be here for a whole week this summer!

  27. CSK says:


    I know! I pointed that out here @CSK: . It’s ridiculous. He had to know the procedure was being filmed. It’s as if he’s challenging us: “Who do you believe? Me or your lying eyes?”

  28. Gustopher says:

    @Mikey: your daughter is famous!

  29. Matt says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Yeah it was on a minecraft discord server for a month or so before anyone noticed.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if it was someone’s kid trying to be cool. Who knows

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    He knows the whole thing is on video, right? Like, we saw when he was brought into the court. One of the cops didn’t even bother holding the door for him.

    You get that his fanboiz and gurlz get deep fakes and will simply match the explanation of whatever data there is to their prevailing worldview, right? Just checking. (And I really think we need to start leveling down on the confirmation bias and start ignoring him more. But that’s been my approach since early 2019 and YMMV.)

  31. Mikey says:

    @Gustopher: She has 45,000 Instagram followers, which would make her a low- to mid-tier “influencer,” but she works in health and fitness and feels she can’t ethically accept payment for promoting specific products. She’s leaving a LOT of money on the table–she could conceivably get several hundred dollars per post and she posts several times a day–but I guess I raised her right and she puts her integrity first. 🙂

  32. Kathy says:


    What subject is it on?

  33. Kurtz says:


    It seems likely the Minecraft group was not the first post containing the documents. Or at least some of them.

    This Bellingcat article traces initial leaks to two servers predating the Minecraft post.

    I highly recommend reading the whole piece.

    However, the WowMao server may still not be the original source of these documents.

    Bellingcat spoke to members of a separate Discord community who claimed that other images had been posted earlier on yet another, since deleted, server often called “Thug Shaker Central” but which also had several other names at different times. Image files shown to Bellingcat detailed a further document in the same style and formatting of those posted in the WowMao server that was dated to January 13.


    This server was not especially geopolitical in nature, although its users had a staunchly conservative stance on several issues, members told Bellingcat. Racial slurs and racist memes were shared widely.

    I think it’s possible, if not likely, there are other documents from the same batch that have yet be reported.

  34. becca says:

    @Matt: popular theory with some over at LGM. Someone’s kid trying to get online cred. I heard some intel person on a NPR podcast saying she thought an arrest was probably gonna happen pretty soon. Clues from super glue and a hunting rifle scope caught when the papers, which appeared to have been folded, were imaged. Very intriguing.

  35. Mikey says:

    @Kathy: All your microbiomes–gut (a big thing these days), mouth, skin, even your belly button has a specific microbiome.

    One thing about this process is it takes FOREVER. Like, she came out and recorded a preliminary thing a couple years ago, then another last year, now she’s on contract to do 10 or 12 episodes, but she’s not in “coming soon” yet (and believe me I look regularly, LOL). So the whole thing might not be up for another year.

  36. CSK says:

    Trump is suing Michael Cohen for 500 million dollars in damages.

  37. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    I’ve had some doozies of hallucinations over the years (including one in 2015 when I was convinced it was 1974 and Nixon was still President), but this version of reality is certainly beyond me.

  38. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Presented for your consideration (and amusement)…

    Parody Pics of Josh Hawley and Other GOP Twerps in Drag Going VIral

    From Missouri’s own Josh Hawley to “Mother Pence,” these pieces of AI-generated art show the GOP all glammed up. Posted by the Instagram page @RuPublicans (that’s a combination of “RuPaul” + “Republicans”), these little pieces of digital art are parody at its best, and we think they’re fabulous.

    ETA – and I’m deeply appreciative of any copy editor who will use “twerp” in their headline.

  39. CSK says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    Yeah, you’re right. This is bringing a whole new dimension to the term “gaslighting.”

  40. Kathy says:


    So far I’ve taken all Great Courses series off Audible, and I don’t pay any particular attention to how often new ones come out. Still, it sound slike par for the course for development to take forever.

  41. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Looking for suggestions from @de stijl or someone knowledgeable about edibles et al.

    The side effects of my chemo include fairly severe neuropathy. The current solution for the nights when I can’t sleep is 15 mg hydromorphone. Doesn’t actually remove the pain but moves it down the hall to the spare room (letting me relax enough to rest.) * SWMBO asked if some form of vaping/edibles would be a more socially acceptable solution. I spent 40 minutes this morning at the local dispensary, and frankly I’m more confused than I was when I walked in. Remember, I come from the days of $25/lid for decent smoke.

    * On a bad night, I wind up taking 1-2 of them, which has the side effect of leaving me posting here at 2am PDT because I’m too wound up to sleep. The 30-day supply usually lasts 10 months or so, but I’m really tired of the mandatory opioid addiction conversation with my doctor and pharmacist.

  42. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kurtz: I just want to reinforce what you say about “Thug Shaker” server,

    AND, point out that Discord servers are not just a “kid” thing. I run a Discord server. I use it to chat with my kids, and trade music videos and other news tidbits with them. Because I hate Twitter so much. And for gaming.

    Furthermore, people playing Minecraft are certainly not all “kids”. Maybe if you call a 40 year old a kid?

    I would not at all conclude that it was a kid doing this. It could be, of course.

    The Nintendo N64 launch was a watershed event in gaming. It was in 1996. That was 27 years ago…

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:
  44. Kathy says:


    The gist I gather from the news is Cohen profited while making Benito look bad. IMO, a valid defense could be “he looked like that when I got here.”

    Even if the Cheeto prevails, he won’t extract 0.5% of the sum he’s asking.

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mikey: Congrats! Plenty of opportunities for spoilings!

  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Of course he is. I can’t wait for Cohen’s counter suit to be filed.

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:
  48. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    A number of positives and one, serious as in terminal negative. Acknowledging that this won’t be a winter vehicle in the northeast, the minimum recommended storage temperature is 25F. I guess I could heat the garage, but that would defeat the whole purpose in getting one. TBH, I could just heat the battery, but I suspect that would void the warranty.

    The storage requirement is a weird one, we have 200 amp/hr of lithium batteries in the camper and while the warn you not to charge the batteries when the cabin temp is below 40F, there’s no temp limit for storage.

  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: EEWWWWW! But hilarious, too!!

  50. Thomm says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: I can help with some neuropathy stuff. Mine is from a spinal injury, so things may or may not be different. For me, opiates do nothing. If I catch it before it gets too intense, 800 mg ibuprofen with 1000mg acetaminophen together can work wonders. The ibuprofen reduces swelling around the nerve, and the acetaminophen does what it does. For edibles: for me, it takes about 300-500 mg to do anything, and the higher dose means I am going to sleep for 8-12 hours and (hopefully) reset my body. Keep in mind I have a high tolerance from being an almost daily smoker for 15+ years and edibles don’t affect me as much as some. Good luck. Neuropathy can be terrible if the attack is bad. Pain in par with kidney stones.

  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Yes, I’ve been known to call a 40-year-old “a kid.” More specifically, “a mere child.” Been doing it since I turned 60 or so, no longer exactly sure when I started.

  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Garage? Oh yeah, I remember now. I had a place with a garage 44 years ago.

  53. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Certainly better bet than the Solo* they’re showcasing at the mall. I provided about 1/2 hour of comedy relief as people watched me try to get into and (more importantly) out of the silly thing.

  54. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    Thanks, the idea of actually sleeping normally instead of like a baby (1-2 hours, waking crying inconsolably, lather/rinse/repeat for 6 hours) sounds positive.

    The gang at the shop were helpful but not too knowledgeable about what I was looking to use it for. My neuropathy is the result of 154 rounds of chemo over 3-1/2 years. At the time, a known side effect was nerve damage, especially in the extremities. On good days, my fingers and feet feel like they’re asleep. You know what the bad ones are like.

    Currently, knowledgeable oncology patients are experimenting with icing and cold packs on hands/feet, to reduce blood flow to them (which seems to reduce the nerve damage). I knew I was doing a lot of damage, but wouldn’t change my decisions, as I’m still kicking 12 years post diagnosis.

  55. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Whee!!! Someone called me a kid!

    (Ahem, I’m on Medicare now, AND I run a Discord server.)

  56. Kathy says:

    About the trump pandemic, it’s hard to say where we stand now.

    The Johns Hopkins tracker stopped tracking on March 10th. Still, it shows about as many cases in some regions by early March 2023 as there were around April 2020, when the thing was just getting started.

    There are differences. For one thing, the death figures are way down worldwide. this may reflect in part vaccination and prior infection, and also in part that the Omicron variant mix dominating now is less severe. Also perhaps advances in treatment, even in places where neither antibodies nor Paxlovid is available.

    Me, I still wear a mask at work and when I go out. I’ve yet to go to a restaurant or the movies. If/when I make the trip to the Maya ruins, will be the first time since february 2020.

  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: Yeah, but still $20k for anything that’s not the “base” model (at only $18)

  58. Thomm says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: sure. It can be bad. 95% of my life, I get the pins and needles like they are in the verge of being asleep like cut off of blood flow to normal linbs, but when they hit…
    A sales manager of mine saw a bad hit for the first time on the sales floor and called me over…this is how the conversation went:

    Him: “Mol, what the hell was that?”

    Me: “bad neuropathy shock…I may be having an attack starting.”

    Him: “you looked like you were about to die right there. Finish up the paperwork on your sale and go. If you need (co-worker) can give you a ride. I’ll take it from there”

    Depending on you current/past usage, I’d start at a 75 mg dose, give it 15-20 minutes and go from there. If you take too much at once, the nausea and spins until you pass out are not fun.

    (See guys, I’m not a constant and complete ass. Ha!)

  59. Kurtz says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    It could be a kid, I guess. But I don’t see why that would be anyone’s leading explanation. Other than gamer/Discord. But as you point out. That’s based on some false assumptions about gamers and how Discord is used.

    The latter is much broader than just gamers. It’s been that way for years now.

  60. Mikey says:

    @Kurtz: This is who it is. A fascist with a high clearance.

    The man behind a massive leak of U.S. government secrets that has exposed spying on allies, revealed the grim prospects for Ukraine’s war with Russia and ignited diplomatic fires for the White House is a young, charismatic gun enthusiast who shared highly classified documents with a group of far-flung acquaintances searching for companionship amid the isolation of the pandemic.

    United by their mutual love of guns, military gear and God, the group of roughly two dozen — mostly men and boys — formed an invitation-only clubhouse in 2020 on Discord, an online platform popular with gamers.

    Later in the story:

    In a video seen by The Post, the man who the member said is OG stands at a shooting range, wearing safety glasses and ear coverings and holding a large rifle. He yells a series of racial and antisemitic slurs into the camera, then fires several rounds at a target.

    Fucking garbage human who has done incalculable damage to America.

  61. EddieInCA says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    Use a combination of Ibuprofen with Indica. Stay away from Sativa. Indica will relax your entire body and help you sleep. Sativa will open your mind and keep you wide awake. Think of it this way… Indica is a like Quaalude, whereas Sativa is like LSD. I use Indica to sleep, and when my back pain really flairs up, I use the Ibuprofen and Indica combination. The important thing is to figure out the sweet spot for your dosage. I started out with 5mg. It wasn’t enough. 10mg was better but not quite right. Eventually I figured out that my perfect dose for a good nights sleep was about 15mg. If I’m doing a hotel, I might bump it up to 20mg the first night. Your weight will have a bearing on how much you need. I have a friend on Chemo who takes about 30mg nightly to sleep, but he’s about 60 lbs heavier than I am. I’m 5-10, 185, and he’s about 5-11, 250.

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    That’s my ride!!!! 4000 miles in, and I still freaking love it. And I still get waves and smiles every time I drive it. My 911 Cabriolet is up for sale because I have more fun in the Solo.

  62. EddieInCA says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    It’s actually $15.5K. They’re no longer having to pay the Chinese tariff. Mine was $18.2, out the door.

  63. Gustopher says:

    @Mikey: A fascist with high clearance was always the most likely cause, but I was hoping for the random 12 year old kid of a sloppy general, because it’s a much funnier story.

    I wanted a 12 year old to get grounded for harming national security. Maybe light treason.

    “Dude, want to go set fire to a vacant house*?”

    “Can’t, dude, still grounded for that treason thing.”


    *: I have no idea what kids do.

  64. Thomm says:

    @EddieInCA: honestly, with all due respect, this is more than about sleep. The pain he and I deal with is on another level than simple back pain (which I had for 16 years until my spine basically exploded and collapsed on itself) this is the nerves themselves not speaking to each other correctly due to damage of the receptor ends. When they hit your whole body can lock up and contort, lasting anywhere from 2-15 seconds with maybe a minute or less between them for bad attacks, lasting anywhere from 8-30+ hours. Not to mention the pain sweats. A bad, long running attack can wipe out your energy for the next day from the intense muscle contractions. Opiates, usually can’t even make a dent in the pain for bad episodes. I came close to ODing on hydrocodone one time trying to rely on them. The ibuprofen/acetaminophen mix can take care of about 75% of them in my experience and estimation, but if that doesn’t work, you need to totally blast yourself with a megadose of edibles to knock yourself out to reset things. As I mentioned though, I have a decent tolerance, but I wouldn’t recommend starting with any less than 40mg even for someone who hasn’t partaken in some time/never partaken. Then again, I am 6’1″ and about 240 with a naturally large frame. YMMV.

  65. wr says:

    @Mikey: “she could conceivably get several hundred dollars per post and she posts several times a day–but I guess I raised her right and she puts her integrity first. ”

    You call that raising her right? In some states you’d be up on child abuse charges!